Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Try Harder

Or maybe you can call this 2011 Review Redux.....

2011 Topps..... I said I like it and I do. As the newness of it all has finally worn off and my rose colored glasses have shattered, I'm sitting here thinking of what I like and don't like.  I think I gave a fairly decent review of Topps.  I'll stand by my rating.  I mean if you're a set builder this is the set.  We get all caught up in the "hits" and rightfully so considering the cost of a box of baseball cards nowadays.  I would love to have hit a personalized 60th anniversary auto or some of the other goodies, but I didn't.

So lets talk about Topps "hits" this year.  On the jumbo box it clearly states that you will receive 1 Autographed card and 2 relics.

So when did a manufactured "relic" become a relic?  By definition a sports relic is something that was game used or at least associated with the game.  There were lots of controversy over Topps using pieces of seats in Babe Ruth relic cards and calling them relics.  And I'll call bullshit on that to.  While a piece of a Yankee Stadium Seat would be a fine relic in and of itself trying to make it represent something that it is not, is not acceptable.  The same goes for Manufactured "relics".  I like the Manu-patch, Manu-bats, and even to a point these new Manu-glove cards.  They are what they are.  But they are not Relics.  And I wouldn't even be the least bit pissed if Topps just stated on its Jumbo boxes, 1 Auto, 1 Relic and 1 Manufactured collectible. 

Now lets get to brass tacks here.  The manufactured hat patches and bat barrels were a nice new concept collectible.  Well executed, if not well represented.  And while Topps put out a lot of subjects last year with hat patch and bat cards, some players had multiple designs, all the cards were numbered no higher than 99.

Here are a few examples

Remember these are the regular issue ones.  I don't think the Hat Patches had lower numbered parallels, but the bat barrels did.

Now this year.
No numbering.  And lets check out the quality.  This is a scan of the Cano I pulled from my box break.  Ignore the smudges that's from my scanner and the top loader.  But look at the stitching.

Here is the Topps teaser image release prior to the ship date
First, two things, yes this is a photoshopped image.  By Topps not me.  Second you'll notice that they took the Manufactured glove leather nameplate and changed it to just leather name plate.  And if you look at this card look how nice the lettering is.  Yes Topps did state that these would be stitched in their sell sheet but that stitching looks way nicer than the actual product, way nicer!  Look how crappy the pound sign is on the Cano card. And I doubt that it's real leather.  If it is it's super thin, it doesn't feel real.    And not being numbered means that these were produced in huge numbers.  And I guess they would have to be considering that according to the checklist there are only 50 subjects as opposed to the Hat Logo Patches that had 186 subjects alone in Series 1. 

What I find most disappointing is Topps takes a neat idea and just drives it into the ground.  The hat patch and bat barrel cards were new, looked cool, and had new and old stars, variations, and were relatively scarce. 

Yes the Leather Nameplates have numbered variations, but these are now the exception not the rule.  And I've mention this and so have quite a few other bloggers, the stitching looks cheap, shoddy, and poorly executed.  A stamped or branded name plate would have looked much nicer and probably have been a little higher quality. And hold on because we are going to get at least 50 more of these in Series 2. 

Topps continues it's "free" giveaway with the Diamond Anniversary Giveaway.  I'm not sure when that site will start for business, probably in March after the MCG is done, but if it's anything like the Million Card Giveaway or the Gridiron Giveaway I would wait a while before trying to enter your codes, so the bugs get worked out.  I'll wait till I see what starts coming out of that to pass judgement. 

The MCG started out hot and was a good idea, but one million 1987 cards later it doesn't seem so hot.  To be fair I didn't do too shabby with the codes I entered.  Yes there were quite a few 80's, 90's and 2000's in the mix, but the majority of my codes turned up 70's cardboard.  I got a few 50's and a handful of 60's.  I just got my cards in the mail, that's another post, but I'm not overly impressed with the quality of the cards I got.  I'm debating if it's worth having any more shipped to me or just saying screw it.

It seem by far that everyones favorite insert is the Kimball's Champions.  I knew I would be trying to put a set of these together when I saw them on the sell sheet.  I love minis and I love the retro inserts.  I'm still trying to finish my 2009 and 2010 Turkey Red sets.  I have a feeling that this might be even harder to finish as it seems everyone wants to collect these guys.  I have a want list up for my set if anyone has some they'd like to get rid of.  I didn't have a single double out of my 2 boxes so I got a nice 20 card base going.  Only 30 more to go.

We also have the Diamond parallels.  I guess these are officially Platinum Diamond Parallels.  Unnumbered, but oh so shiny. I like to call these the sparkle cards. 

I won't lie I like the look of these cards and I'll be trying to put together a Brewers Team set but I won't be trying to complete a complete set.  I like the feel of these cards and there not bendy like Chrome. 

 I really enjoy the base design as well.  I think this is the most important for me as a set collector. Topps put together a really nice design this year.  And looking at the sparkle cards I think it should be a great Chrome set this year as well.  As long as Topps can fix it's Chrome warping problem.  I was just looking at some Chrome from last years set and they're starting to bend so bad I think they'll be able to roll around my deck like a toilet paper rolls pretty soon.  We can hope that gets taken care of.  And since Topps hasn't been coming out with a new Football design in years I would expect this to be the basic layout for 2011 Football too.  Maybe the circle with the logo will be a football and the back will have footballs instead of circles with the card number and player picture, but pretty much the same I would assume.  I wonder if the sparkle cards will carry over into football?  I will say I would like to see some new inserts in football this year.  Maybe not manufactured relics but something innovative would be nice.

Any comments are welcome. 

CB out


  1. I agree on all points. Manufactured cards are OK, but in no way should they replace a relic...esp. unnumbered manu-cards. At least the base design is very solid front and back. Ultimately this is what will carry this set.

  2. I like the base design, I like the diamond cards, I agree that a manu-item is barely a "hit."

    I don't get the interest in the Kimball minis. We've seen this over and over with A&G, Goodwin, T206, etc. Except the card quality was better than Kimball.

    As for chrome, this is a rant for my blog, but I definitely agree.

  3. Actually the A&G, Goodwin, T206 ect are all parallel cards from the base sets. The Kimballs are their own stand alone insert set, which is why I like them, say more than a sturdier A&G mini. At least they're not oversized like the Mayo's.